Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium
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Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium is a female run British business selling sex toys, strap-on harnesses, dildos, bondage gear, lingerie, books, DVD's and accessories. Founded in 1992 by Kathryn Hoyle and Sophie Walters, the company also manufactures dildos and harnesses, and commissions BDSM playthings, lubricant, massage oil, toy cleaner and vibrating toys.
The Sh! shop is located in Hoxton Square, London. A second shop, on Portobello Road, ceased trading in May 2012. The company also runs a mail order business via the company website and has its HQ in Forest Gate. Sh! employs 18 women.
Founder's biographies 
Kathryn Hoyle was born in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and grew up with a feminist mother, a free-thinking father and one brother. She attended her local school, Ilkley Grammar, before going on to complete a foundation art course in Bradford and graduating with a degree in Fine Art from The Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Brighton University.
Sophie Walters was born in Bracknell, Berkshire and went to Marist Convent Catholic School in Sunninghill, Berkshire. At 17, she started a business and commerce course at Windsor College. Upon completion of the course Sophie worked for Securicor Heathrow, Air Courier Division and later on for Roy Bowles Transport & Cargo. In 1989, she took up the position of Logistics Manager at Sony Corporation Air Cargo and then, after meeting Kathryn in 1991, joined Sh!
Cultural impact 
Sh! was the first sex shop in the UK focusing solely on women. It has been instrumental in making sex shops accessible to female customers, who previously were marginalised in this area of the consumer market. Sex shops were created to cater mainly to men's needs. One of the effects of the sexual revolution was that women took charge of their own sexuality and with that have pushed into the sex business.
Vibrators were first developed as medical equipment to help cure women of hysteria by inducing hysterical paroxysm, also known as orgasm. Many medical practitioners working with sexual dysfunctions have limited or no knowledge of vibrators or dildos so Sh! has been working to educate practitioners and has been receiving orders from NHS Trusts.
The Sh! website provides advice and guidance and the shop offers customers to opportunity to handle various toys or have talk with the shop assistants. The company is the only sex shop which offers a 30-day warranty.
Sh! founder Kathyrn Hoyle discovered the Rabbit vibrator in a sex toy warehouse in 1993. It was named “Roger Rabbit”. The renamed toy "Jessica Rabbit Vibrator" has since gone onto fame, starring in television shows including Sex and the City. However, it was in 1999, when Cosmopolitan ran an article on female masturbation, that the "Jessica" really started to enter women's homes.
In late 1990, the first striptease class for women was held at Sh!
Pornography and a sex shop license 
Sh! stocks women-friendly, pornographic material, such as films by Anna Span, available to its customers. Women-friendly means depicting female desire convincingly and realistically as opposed to mainstream pornography which embodies the male gaze and objectifies women by making them into a tool for both the male pornographic actor's sexual gratification and the viewer's purposes.
Sh! runs educational workshops and collaborates with National Health Service Trusts in providing sex toys for women with sexual difficulties.
Sh! Training Kit The Sh! Training Kit contains four size-graded vibrators with lube sachets and full instruction menus. It is designed for women with vaginismus or who need a dilating kit to help get them back into shape. The kit was developed through links with over 20 NHS trusts and now recommended by doctors and sex therapists. The Sh! training kit is also part of a PhD project, at The Royal United Hospital Bath Gynae Oncology department, to research the possibilities and implications of using vibrators in the post-surgery dilating process for women.
2003 International Sexology Conference In 2003, Adeola Agbebiyi from the Barts and the London NHS Trust, Kathryn Hoyle and Angel Zatorski both from Sh! Women's Emporium, part-took presented two papers exploring the relationship between women and sex toys.
Art at Sh! The Sh! shop also hosts exhibitions of art work centring on erotic and/or sexual themes.
Books Sh! is also one of three remaining women's bookstores in London and has a comprehensive selection of women's erotica and books dealing with women's sexuality and related issues.
Sh! has been awarded Ethical Consumer status (by ethicalconsumer.org) for their informed and information-giving standpoint on sex toys. Sh! has also won the 2005 Erotic Awards Special Judges Award for being 'the best sex shop in town ~ possibly the world!' In 2007, Sh! won the g3 magazine Readers Poll 'Best adult store online' and 'Best LBGT friendly business' and in 2008 the business was awarded the Readers Poll 'Best online retailer' award.
- Navarro, Mireya (2004-02-20). "Women Tailor Sex Industry To Their Eyes - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Hill, Amelia (2002-09-29). "Women to get sex toys on the NHS". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Moore, Anna (2003-07-20). "A Woman's Touch". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- "www.ruh.nhs.uk/documents/research%20_and%20_development_documents/current_research_projects.pdf" (PDF).
- "www.worldsexology.org/doc/abstractsCuba.pdf" (PDF).
- "Erotic Awards 2005".
- "g3 Magazine Readers Poll 2007 results".
- g3 magazine, June 2008